If you haven’t seen yet, Outside Online and its parent companies are buying up outdoors magazines and websites left, right, and centre.
This means a bunch of changes for all the subscribers of those websites and a ton of rad benefits for the new Outside+ membership.
So, what is an Outside+ membership?
What is in an Outside+ Subscription?
There is a ton of stuff in the new subscriptions, and it’s not just a magazine or ad-free access to one of the sites.
- Curated Outside Newsletter
- Members only accounts on sites like Backpacker, SKI, Trail Runner and others
- Outside Shop – discounts, gear concierge and gear-testing opportunities
- unlimited adventure shows films and documentaries on Outside TV
- Premium features on Gaia GPS and Trailforks.
- Annual Gear Guides for backpacking, camping, cycling, skiing, climbing and others.
- Warren Miller film library and priority access to annual film tour
- Trail Runner Coaching and Training Concierge
- Two books from VeloPress (US only)
- Epic life list trips and race-entry fee discounts
- Annual subscription to 1 additional magazine in the Outside network (US only)
- Virtual outdoors, health and fitness courses
Ok, that’s a little overwhelming I know. I took me a bit to wrap my head around all this stuff that’s included. Let’s walk through all this.
But first a couple important points. It’s about $125 CAD per year ($99 USD per year). Which is a bit steep if you’re thinking this is just a magazine subscription. But it’s way more than that. A lot more.
Second, there are 2 other kinds of accounts you can get. Outside (regular) and free.
What’s in a regular Outside subscription?
The regular Outside account is basically a magazine subscription. You get access to the ad-free content on the website and a subscription to the magazine if you’re in the US. Canada is coming is coming soon for the print copies of the magazine.
- Curated Outside newsletters
- member content on OutsideOnline.com
- ad-free reading on OutsideOnline.com
- annual subscription to Outside magazine (US Only)
What’s in a free account?
You still have access to free content. Just for signing up for free you get:
- personalized feed
- free content on the website
- free content on the Outside TV app
- curated newsletters
So those are the 3 kinds of accounts you can get now. I takes a bit to find out exactly what these things are so I wanted to explain each of them.
What websites are included in Outside+?
A ton of websites are now included in all these special Outside+ subscription benefits. Not all of them have special parts included but I’m sure most of them will have some benefit in the subscription at some point.
So, all the sites under Outside are now:
- Yoga Journal
- The Box
- Clean Eating
- Muscle and Performance
- Paleo Magazine
- Vegetarian Times
- Better Nutrition
- Gaia GPS
- Gym climber
- National Park Trips
- Outside TV
- Rock and Ice
- Warren Miller
- Fly Fishing Film tour
- Cycling Tips
- Trail Runner
- Women’s Running
- Bicycle Retailer
- Idea Health and Fitness Association
- NASTAR Alpine Racing
- Outside Business Journal
- Outside Marketplace
- Roll Massif
As you can see Outside is now a group of more than 41(!) different websites and properties online. Roam Academy and others will soon be joining the Outside family as well and (hopefully) be a part of the Outside+ subscription.
Though not nearly as big the Lola Digital Media group will be competition with their 13 different outdoorsy media properties like GearJunkie and Switchback Travel.
Ok. Back to the Outside+ subscription. What is all this stuff?
On each of the sites that have been integrated (many are in the works) you get a feed section under Profile > Feed. You can set what kind of stories you want to see in your feed and then it shows you any story that falls under that topic from across all the Outside sites.
Once you pick the categories you want, you get a nice feed you can access from many of the sites that shows you just want you want.
The Outside Shop is a curated shop of name-brand outdoor gear that the editors from Outside really like. You get $50 off a $100 purchase every year if you’re in the US. And includes a Gear Concierge and apparently some gear testing opportunities. I’m very intrigued by the last part.
The Outside Shop (just launched) is on the Cairn site at https://www.getcairn.com/pages/shop.
Many of the Outside sites now include members-only content. They show up with a little lock icon on the website and you can only read them if you have the Outside+ subscription.
The sites I’ve found so far that have members-only content are:
- Trail Runner
- Clean Eating Mag
- Yoga Journal
- Podium Runner
- Vegetarian Times
- Beta MTB
- Womens Running
There’s nothing you have to do to access them. They just show up on all the website pages as usually but just have a lock icon on the thumbnail.
High quality streaming content is something that many people are obviously paying for. It’s a no brainer if you watch all this stuff anyways and read the magazines to check out the streaming video options. The Outside+ subscription gets you access to 2 different areas for streaming video.
The first and largest section is the Outside TV app. It’s got a free section with a ton of shows and series on backpacking, adventure, climbing, bike, vanlife and everything else outside. It also has an Outside+ section now with some solid outdoor films and series.
Also in the Outside+ section of the app are all the Warren Miller films. These can also be found on the SKI website if you’re logged into your Outside+ account.
Premium Features in Gaia GPS and Trailforks Apps
Outside+ includes subscriptions to 2 of the best trail and navigation apps out there, Gaia GPS and Trailforks.
Gaia GPS one of the best apps out there for creating tracks, routes and navigating with your phone. With the pro version you can take maps offline. Tons of maps are available with the pro version that you can pick from. See our recent review of Gaia GPS Pro here.
Trailforks is another great app built originally for mountain biking. It’s very easy to pull up trails and trail networks to be able to see where you want to run, ride or hike. Since it’s start for mountain biking trails, it’s expanded to nearly every outdoor pursuit that can happen on a trail. Trailforks shows trail conditions from the last people to run or ride it.
One of the best parts and the only app to do this, is the great support for trail networks, not just one trail at a time. Regardless of what trail you are on, you can see how all the networks connect and see conditions for each trail. We’ll be reviewing Trailforks here on PureOutside soon so stay tuned for that. It also syncs with Strava and Garmin to track your rides and runs.
A good number of online courses are included with the Outside+ membership as well. They range from Night Photography and Uphill Skiing to Backpacking 101 and healthy eating and fitness courses.
The courses I could find after a quick look are:
- Fast Track Fitness and others
- Backpacker: Intro to GPS Navigation and Backpacking 101
- Clean Eating: Healthy U
- National Parks Trips: Night Sky Photography course
- SKI: Uphill Skiing 101, How to Break Through
- Vegetarian Times: 6 courses
- Yoga Journal: 5 courses
- Climbing: 3 courses
I’m sure there will be lots more coming from each of the websites as they integrate their systems. Currently you get coupon codes in the Perks section and then redeem them on the respective website. I’d love to see it all in one integrated system for courses across all of Outsides properties.
The Courses list has been missing from the Perks list since the most recent update with the Shop though. I’ve emailed the rep to get more clarification on where that went and will update this when I hear back.
Related to the courses is Outside’s recent purchase of Roam Academy which offers a bunch of super-high-quality courses from big names in the fitness and outdoors industry. I’m assuming they’ll roll this into the subscription one day too which will be very exciting.
Also with the subscription is access to training plans on Today’s Plans. Sign up with the same email as Outside+ and you get customized plans for triathlon, run, ride, and duathlon built for you based on information you plug in.
2 Magazine Subscriptions
Subscriptions have come a long way from just getting a magazine in the mail each month. With all this you also get a subscription to 2 magazines. They aren’t available in Canada through the subscription yet but sounds like it’s coming.
2 books from VeloPress are also include. Over 90 books are listed over there so there’s a good selection focused on endurance outdoor sports. These are only available in the US as well.
It’s a bit wild how much Outside has packed into these subscriptions. There’s a ton of stuff available and it will just keep growing. Outside+ is only 6 months in so they have a lot of growing to do as well as smoothing out some issues. I have a few things I’d like to see improved.
Magazines, books and Shop discount in Canada
Being in Canada it would be nice to see this expanded.
Clearer access to Warren Miller Films
It took me a bit to find the Warren Miller films. They are accessible on the SKI website as well as in the Outside TV app but it would be nice to make that clear on the account pages.
Courses aren’t in the Perks list any more
Online courses that were available to the subscription where in the Perks list in the account but have disappeared in the last week. I’m assuming it’s just a bug or update and will be back soon.
Outside and their developers have done a great job organizing everything so far. It wasn’t hard to find most of the benefits included in the subscription. There’s still room to improve though. I’d love to see an account page with links directly to all the benefits you get without having to go search for it. The beauty of software is they’re probably already working on it and will roll it out as soon as it’s done.
Verdict: Outside+ Subscription
Verdict: Highly Recommended
I love a good online course or high-quality content subscription and Outside really knocks it out of the park with this one. They have access to an incredible amount of information. It would truly be difficult to see and use every single thing they have in Outside+, there’s just so much.
There are a few things to work out and improve like shipping and discounts in Canada and linking all the separate pieces together in an easy to use manner but it’s an impressive first pass and I’m sure there will be many updates in the coming months.
I’m eagerly waiting shipping and discount support in Canada but with the massive list of things you get for $100/year in the US, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t sign up.
You can get more info and sign up for Outside+ here. It takes less than a minute and you’re into Pro apps, members-only content and free apps.